Revision Mode (?)

Excitedly I finished my first draft ready to revise. I, after many months of anticipation, finally press the “Revision Mode: First Revision” button in the Scrivener menu and I go to town just as I would in something like Pages, Word or other text editors.

I delete, I edit and I change things around happy that this isn’t as messy as something like Pages. Then I look, after finishing the edit of a particularly difficult scene, for the way to see all my changes. I disable the revision mode only to discover that all this did was color my newly written text red.

I am not sure if I am doing something wrong but this is utterly unacceptable. Revision Mode suggests that it’s for, well, REVISION. Now I deleted important parts of my manuscript thinking this text editor works with ease as any other (I was under the impression Revision Mode = Track Changes Mode).

Please, if there is a way to enable true Track Changes Mode let me know. Day by day I grow more and more annoyed with this software and this is just yet another reason why I consider switching.

The use of a different name for the feature than “track changes” was very deliberate. The user manual’s description of this feature goes out of its way to be very clear about what it is not, with a bright yellow warning box in the introduction to §18.6, Marking Revisions, and also cross-references you to a feature that might be more what you’re looking for:

I would add one caveat to that—you can overstrike text, and it will be marked in red (or whichever level you’re on) for doing so. The compiler can be set up to strip out struck through text like this, effectively deleting it without physically removing it from the editor. And as for that, there is a menu command to do so at a later point, once you’ve determined it really should be deleted. There are multiple techniques like this that one can use by combining features in Scrivener. I write about some of them in this post.

But by all means, move on to other software if you find Scrivener so annoying! It’s an option for some types of writers, not something meant to appeal to everyone. Personally I would stop writing entirely if I had to use a word processor and Track Changes. It would suck dry the very desire to even try. I would use a pen and paper or a manual typewriter before I used such a system (and indeed that is precisely what I used before Scrivener). But obviously you feel differently, and if such things are so appealing to you, then maybe a program that doesn’t have precisely something like that would be as stifling and soul-destroying as Word would be to me. Thank goodness we have options in life.

Hi Michael,

I want to be sure what you’re saying.

What I think I heard was that you found Scrivener has a feature you’ve never used before, called Revision Mode. It sure does sound promising, so you decide to try it out.

But instead of cracking open the manual and reading Section 18.6 (one paragraph) that clearly explains how it works, or using it on a test page first, or asking about it here, or even, God forbid, making a backup of your MS. prior to making your changes–before doing any of these quick, easy, sensible things, you decide the best way to try out the feature is by whacking away “important parts of my manuscript”?

Did I get that right?


Scrivener’s automatic backups can be found by going to Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups, and opening the backup folder in Finder. Even assuming you have no other backups – which we do NOT recommend – it should be fairly easy to revert to the pre-revision version.


I will be blunt and say that I care very little if you used a typewriter or what your view on other text editors is. I came here with a question/critique. The button in Scrivener suggests that this is indeed a “Revision Mode” not a “Color Mode”.

And yes, Scrivener is annoying. Tracking changes is detrimental to an editing process for many as it allows to completely change the document while retaining the original. After confirming changes those changes override the original but only when confirmed. I would be fine if this feature was missing, as many features are missing already, but to label something in a way it suggests one thing while doing nothing even remotely similar is just a poor practice.

Hello Jim,

Yes this is what I am saying. I found a feature which by the titles (and the way it seemed to work) looked as the feature which almost every text editor has - Tracking Changes.

We live in 2020, no software that is meant to be user-friendly would ever tell you to go through an immensely long manual. (Chapter 18 as I was informed). It’s utterly disrespectful to consumers to label a feature a certain way while all it does is color text.

I would have no problem if the feature worked differently than a standard track changes mode but this is not a ‘revision’ mode, this is ‘color text one color weeee’ mode. It has no use. All it does is color text.

Your attitude is insulting but I will entertain you attempts to make me look like a person with a limited mental capacity. Scrivener touts itself as the go-to text editor for writers. Tracking changes is something present in ordinary text editors that are meant for little more than basic document management. It is not uncommon for a user to expect a professional grade software to also include features akin to those found in entry-level software.

One example: Imagine that Photoshop does not have a rectangle tool, something even MS Paint has! Would that be acceptable? Would it be acceptable for Adobe to have a tool that is named in a similar fashion and suggests it can make rectangles but it can’t? Of course not.

So if I assume that Track Changes in Word is Microsofts version of Snapshots in Scrivener and get disappointed, then Microsoft is at fault, not my expectations?

I certainly wasn’t saying anything about your mental capacity. I was pointing out that your actions–wading in and deleting text with an untried feature and zero due diligence–were foolhardy.

My apologies for being unclear.


There is nothing that suggests ‘Track Changes’ in word is similar to ‘Snapshots’. The names are clearly very different unlike ‘Revision Mode’ and ‘Track Changes’.

You are doing a poor job defending the scummy company Lit&Latte is.

I realize that you’re probably quite a bit embarrassed about your mistake and upset about potentially losing material, but it is your mistake. There is no need to call L&L names. They go out of their way to warn users to read the manual because their software does not work like a “normal” word processor.

Katherine has already given you potential steps to help recover the material you may have inadvertently deleted, and others have given you pointers to the features in Scrivener you will need to learn to keep this from happening again.

What is more important? Being “right” and getting someone else to apologize for your mistake (never happening), or getting your data and either learning how to use Scrivener more effectively OR moving back to a program you’re more comfortable with?

Well, you’re actually wrong. Revision mode is used in script writing to automatically highlight changes that have been made to a script so that the production crew knows which parts have changed. It is used in other softwares for script writing and is generally named Revision mode because it shows to others where the script has changed, been revised.

Isn’t it logical to assume that things that are the same have the same name, and things that are different have different names? If Revision mode had been Track changes, why would L&L choose to call it something else?

Let me just ask you one thing, michaelp23: do you consider a blue background and white text to be the purest and most correct form of interface for real writers?

You are so very right! I am embarrassed. Not because I made a mistake while using Scrivener, oh no. I am embarrassed that I have paid money to a company like this. Windows version is still nowhere while being promised for years now.

At the end of the day Scrivener is a poorly made software with dubious naming philosophy. Coloring text is not a revision mode, it’s just not even remotely what a revision mode should be. End of story.

I am not sure what this question is at all. Interface is not in any way related to my question.

I am not wrong, but thank you for your obnoxious comment.

The name implies it is made for revising a draft. It does not say that all it does is change a color of the text. Ideally removed/changed text would be stricken through.

Good job excusing poor design. Are you getting a discount coupon? :smiley: :smiley:

No, the name doesn’t imply that at all. The name implies that it is for revising scripts. It’s a standard in script writing and made for exactly that

You can check it out for yourself. Pick any standard script writing tool - Final Draft, Highland 2, etc. The quote below is from the Celtx Help Center:

"Revision mode is a tool you use once your script is in production (or darn close).

Your edits will appear in industry-standard colour on the screen."

Quoting some Celtx software does not excuse the poor quality of Scrivener - simple as that! I have laid out my points clearly, you are unable to accept the issue as valid. Scrivener is quite badly made program with a myriad of issues.

There’s a simple solution. Don’t use it.

michaelp23 on the 2nd of July, last year:

Yes, please.

Kindly f-off.

There is no alternative to Scrivener, sadly they are all abandoned or even worse (which is an achievement in its own right) than Scrivener so I am stuck with this poorly made piece of rubbish.